Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Days 26 to 30: A Recap

Today's Bible Verse
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”- Isaiah 46:4

Day 26
Robert made a new best friend – Reggie. He spent the entire day with him. He really wants a dog as sweet as Reg.
From Atlanta, GA

Tito Ramon and Tita Lorna took me and Robert for early dinner in Golden Corral. They have been so good to us during our stay in Atlanta.
From Atlanta, GA

We talked about stuff like how they met and everything. I am glad Robert brought up this question because it never occurred to me to ask them. It was fun getting to know them in that aspect.

Later that evening, we went to iHop with my cousins. We were just enjoying our last night together before heading out to Tennessee the following day.
From Atlanta, GA

Day 27
We headed out to Nashville today. It was hard saying goodbye to family. We jointly said a prayer before we left.

We stayed in Nashville the entire afternoon. Robert needed to complete some paperwork in Every Nation.

We ran into Pastor Ariel Untal of Bethel Memphis and we told him we were planning to head out there to start raising our ministry support team.

Pastor Ariel suggested that we follow him on his drive home to Memphis and stay at his home. That was really a thoughtful gesture!

Midway through our drive, Pastor Ariel took us to a restaurant called Casey Jones. It was good, old-fashioned country buffet. Robert absolutely loved it!

Day 28
Today was our date day. Robert took me to the Delta Fair and Music Festival in Memphis. We have similar little carnivals like this in the Philippines – but this is my first time to go see one here in the United States.

Our most fun time was watching Gavin DeGraw’s concert. We were really impressed by him!

Days 29 and 30
These days were joy-filled days in Memphis. First, we truly love the new church plant there. The leadership team of that church are so dedicated to the health and growth of the congregation.

Second, they welcomed and treated us like family! We have said this before and we will say it again – nothing beats Filipino hospitality!

Third, we were in tears because several members of the community made a decision to partner with us by committing monthly financial support to our ministry in the Philippines.

Robert always tells me this and it is always true – when one works in alignment of God’s will and purpose, the blessings just come pouring in!

This month truly elevated my sense of community with my brothers and sisters. If there is one big lesson I learned – that is probably it.

I have been pretty much content being by myself, working and doing ministry when all my other priorities are done.

There is nothing wrong is working that way. However, I recognize a real danger in getting way too consumed with my own concerns and relying on my own energy to accomplish what I need to accomplish.

God has taught me to immerse myself more in the lives of others and making sure they know that they are loved by Him. When I started exercising my life this way, God made sure my own concerns got taken cared of. Isn’t He awesome?

I love this quote:
“To live in and contribute to God’s dream of community is the reason you were born. It is what you were created for. Neglect this, and you will die a failure.” John Ortberg

God never intended for any of us to go it alone. Moreover, we cannot pursue spiritual transformation in isolation.

Jesus started the church so the Christian community could teach and encourage one another; so we could become the people God wants us to be.

Our spiritual health is closely tied to our involvement with other believers. During this process, I realized that He truly wants to use me more in ministry – more than He ever did before. He truly changed my heart. I could not even find it in my heart to resist the calling.

Check out this interesting fact:
Not only is our spiritual health at risk if we are unconnected but our physical health is as well. The famous Alameda County Study showed that unconnected people were three times more likely to die than those who had strong relational connections.

Another Harvard researcher noted that when an unconnected person joined a group, “you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half.”

In addition, a Journal of the American Medical Association report showed that people who were connected in groups were four times better at fighting off illness caused by the common cold virus. Doesn’t it make sense to get connected?

My husband and I just entered a season in our lives that requires us to share more of our faith and invite other people to partner with us in the work that God has called us to do in the Philippines.

I am finding myself (to my own surprise!) embracing this season with exhuberance and joy that can only come from Him.

I will definitely keep you updated on how raising ministry support is stretching our faith and character. These are going to be exciting times!

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